Variations of Caribbean Music Today

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Music is the pulsating heartbeat of life in the Caribbean. Caribbean Music involves sounds and rhythms that evoke a sense of hope for the future. The diverse sounds of the musical genres such as Reggae, Dancehall, Soca and Chutney are classical examples of the growing art forms that distinguish Caribbean Music today.

The musical genre, Reggae is a long-established art form that has a huge influence on Caribbean culture and other musical styles. Reggae was first developed in the island of Jamaica in the late 1960’s and is founded upon a rhythmic style characterized by regular chops on the back beat, known as the skank. The lyrics of Reggae originated from the confrontation and struggles people on the island were meted with. The music revealed the pressures of everyday life and influenced its listeners with its powerful messages. Ever since the early 1980s, Reggae has developed a high level of popularity in many western countries and has picked up many new fans along the way. It has been revolutionized by the late Reggae artist Bob Marley, who has helped turned this music into a global phenomenon. It has since spread all around the world and influenced a number of other music styles and cultures.

Dancehall music is a descendant of Reggae that is primarily concerned with social, cultural and ideological commentary. It originated in the late 1970’s and gained its popularity with the introduction of digital instrumentation. This changed the sound considerably, which made its melody become increasingly characterized by faster rhythms. Donna P. Hope (2006) defines Dancehall culture as a“"space for the cultural creation and dissemination of symbols and ideologies that reflect the lived realities of its adherents, particularly those from the inner cities of Jamaica." Dancehall and Reggae, its predecessor, now exists side by side and for the most part very distinct in lyrical content. In the 21st century, Dancehall lyrics have come under...
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